Friday, 3 April 2009

Becoming Famous

One way to become a famous chess player is to play a memorable game or execute a brilliant combination. The other, not so good way, is to be on the receiving end of a brilliant game or memorable combination. Curt Von Bardeleben, despite being a fine chess player, is mainly remembered for his loss the Willhelm Steinitz at Hastings in 1895 (although his method of resignation probably contributed to his fame).
Former Canberra junior, Andrew Fitzpatrick is currently suffering a similar fate, courtesy of his game against GM Peter Wells at this years Queenstown event. The game finished with a double rook sacrifice, making it attractive for chess magazines, columns and even blogs. I've now seen the finish to the game pop up in at least 3 different places, including this weeks Guardian Weekly.
I'll now make it appearance number 4, but to mitigate Andrew's pain, I will point out that Peter Wells suffered a similar fate after getting crushed by Japanese Shogi champion Yoshiharu Habu in the 2005 Essent Open.
In the diagrammed position Wells finished the game with 1.Rxg4! hxg4 2.Rh8+!! Kxh8 3.Qxf8+ Kh7 4.Ng5#


Anonymous said...

How the game is built up is also probably relevant to the fame or infamy it and the players receive. I hadn't seen this game before (life is interfering with my chess a lot at the moment) and was looking forwards to the double rook sacrifice. But the fragment you published only includes an exchange sacrifice. It's still an impressive combination, but primarily because of the motifs involved -- major pieces moving along three different lines of action and influencing a fourth (the f8-h6 diagonal) -- than the material investment.

Shaun Press said...

Guilty of journalistic hyperbole! While there were 2 rook sacrifices (one for a knight, the other for half a move), it of course isn't a real 2 rook sacrifice.